Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Andrew Henderson / The National
Andrew Henderson / The National

Expatriate games

Why certain skills enable some expat workers to earn more money than others.

Dear Ali: Why are there variations in the salaries given to the different expat nationalities in the UAE? RD, Annaba, Algeria Dear RD: Your question cuts to the heart of one of the great misconceptions about the UAE and the Gulf region. Locals stereotype expats according to their nationality. Let's take Filipinos, for example. We see many Filipinos working as cashiers or as service workers. But that doesn't mean those jobs aren't open to anyone else. It just means that because of their skills - English fluency, money handling and a great sense of organising - they happen to be good at these jobs. They are not good at those jobs because they are Filipino, but rather, because of their training. In our hospitals, you will find that most of the nurses are Filipino. A nurse's salary is much higher than a cashier's or a maid's. When you buy flowers, who do you usually buy them from? Filipinos. How about when you get an item gift-wrapped? Again, Filipinos. That doesn't mean an Arab couldn't sell flowers or become a good nurse, it's just that the Filipinos have good skills in these areas.

Many of our Pakistani expats drive taxis or lorries. Some might not make as much money as a Filipino office manager or nurse, but they probably don't have the same skills. You should also keep in mind the salaries available in their home country. Dh2,000 or Dh3,000 a month might not seem much, but it is good money compared with what they would make in Pakistan. Our government provides more than one million jobs for expats, and most of the money is sent back home to provide for their families. I'm not saying it's perfect, but it benefits both parties.

Locals don't see Indians or Pakistanis as poor. We also understand that these countries have more well-trained and expert workers than we do. That's why we bring so many doctors and engineers to the UAE. Doctors are compensated according to their expertise, so an Indian doctor would be paid the same as an equally qualified westerner. I'm aware there are often differences in salary packages for an Indian executive and a British executive. I think these have more to do with geography. Bringing your family over from India is usually cheaper than flying your family from the UK, and British schools tend to be more expensive than Indian schools.

I appreciate our Indian driver, and our Indian family doctor. And I appreciate my personal Indian PRO and my great office boy and accountant, who are all from India. All earned their employment based on their good work, and this is reflected in their pay. Dear Ali: I teach grades 1 and 2 in a boys' primary school in Al Ain and I'm trying to think of fun activities to keep them excited about learning. Did you have any favourite games as a child? DD, Al Ain

Hi DD: My time in school was so different from now. Children these days come to school with cellphones and BlackBerries, so hi-tech games should hold their attention, if your school has a computer lab. Soccer is huge in this country, but I think you could also inspire them to act out the lives of the heroes of our folklore. Instead of Superman or Spider-Man, have them play the Poet of Arabia or Ibn Majid the Sea Lion, and let them get aquainted with these Arab heroes and role models. Also, check out the activities at the National Theatre Building. The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage puts on painting and craft workshops for children, while Al Ain zoo offers great educational tours.

Arabic: Etrayani English: Wait for me The word Etrayani (m) is usually used in Emirati dialect to mean "wait for me". For females, the last 'a' would turn into an 'e' and become Etrayeni. Example: "I'm leaving." "Etrayeni, Helen." "Fine, just hurry up." If you are referring to a group, then it's Etrayuni. As in, "Guys, hang on, Etrayuni." ("Wait for me, please.") Note also the pronunciation: Etrayyooooni.

 

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 This four-bedroom villa covers 4,790 square feet and is part of a new compound in Umm Suqeim.

In photos: Beachside villa in Umm Suqeim, Dubai for Dh800,000

Taking a closer look at a four-bedroom villa in Umm Seqeim, Dubai.

 Suresh Raina is part of the the IPL's Chennai Super Kings team, which take on Kings XI Punjab on April 18 in Abu Dhabi. Photo by Duif du Toit / Gallo Images / Getty Images

Chennai Super Kings cricketer Suresh Raina spotted at Ferrari World

One of the top batsmen and bowlers of the Indian Premier League’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Raina spent a day at Ferrari World with some of his team mates, and seemed to particularly enjoy the world’s fastest roller-coaster.

 Shah Rukh Khan plays a shot during a friendly match between the members of the support and administrative staff of Royal Challengers Bangalore and his Kolkata Knight Riders cricket team. Dibyangshu Sarkar / AFP

When the worlds of Bollywood and cricket collide

With the first game of the Indian Premier League beginning today in the UAE, we explore the league’s Bollywood connections, which are as glitzy as they are controversial.

 A rendering of People Abu Dhabi by Crystal. Courtesy People Abu Dhabi by Crystal

People Abu Dhabi by Crystal to open on Saadiyat Island

Abu Dhabi’s nightlife scene just gets better and better. After venues such as O1NE Yas Island and Iris in Yas Marina opening last year, it’s Saadiyat’s turn with the launch of the glamorous People Abu Dhabi by Crystal.

 Dumyé Dolls’s fashionable rag dolls. Rebecca McLaughlin-Duane / The National

Top takeaways from Fashion Forward and where to find them

The ideas and designs that caught our attention and where you can learn more

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National